If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen – but for those who can, a job cooking for the queen might just be their thing.
For chef John Higgins, a native of Scotland and now teaching at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario, the opportunity to work in the royal kitchens was the opportunity of a lifetime, he says, when he served as a junior royal chef in 1980. got started.
“One of the great things about working at Buckingham Palace or for the royal household was not just working in the palace. I had the opportunity to travel to Windsor Castle, to Sandringham, to Balmoral Castle, to Holyrood Palace, and then also on the royal yacht Britannia,” Higgins said, speaking to Global News ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, that a historic 70 marks. years on the throne.
“So you never get bored and there was always something new and something different.”
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Higgins is now the director of hospitality and culinary enterprises at the university’s Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. He has cooked for celebrities and heads of state around the world, but said his experience cooking for the Queen has stayed with him throughout his life.
He said the years he spent cooking for the Queen gave him a glimpse of her and the royal family beyond the tabloid “menagerie” about their lives, and into their likes and dislikes.
“There was a routine, there was a consistency, there was a foundation, there were expectations. And you were working with great, high-quality products, so often you didn’t have to do much to the food — you just had to make sure it was cooked perfectly,” Higgins described.
“There was no, as I call it, fluff or cooks who were very creative about being creative. It was just, let’s cook a lamb the way a lamb should taste.”
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Game and duck, as well as salmon, were among the Queen’s favorite dishes, along with afternoon tea, according to Higgins. She also had clear expectations of what her beloved corgis would eat as well.
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“The queen sent back the corgis’ food,” Higgins said, noting that she preferred the meat to be cubed rather than ground.
“Needless to say† I discovered very, very quickly and quickly that there was an etiquette with the way things were done for a long, long time.”
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The UK is currently celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a milestone no other British monarch has ever achieved, and one that experts say will likely never happen again.
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To celebrate, Brits are getting a four-day holiday when millions of people have flocked to the shops to pick up anniversary-themed treats such as corgi-shaped Swiss roll cakes, as well as a variety of quintessentially British dishes.
A spokesman for Tesco, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, said the celebrations fueled the highest demand for classic British food in a decade.
According to the grocer’s forecast, the British are expected to pick up more than 150,000 bottles of champagne and up to four million bottles of gin – the Queen’s favorite drink – over the long weekend.
According to Tesco, up to 125,000 jars of clotted cream and two million cream pies, along with 500,000 trifles, 3.5 million small baskets of strawberries and 650,000 packs of sausage rolls are sweeping off store shelves.
Shoppers also grab some 750,000 packs of pork pies and nearly 500,000 plant-based alternatives such as vegan sausage rolls.
Everything will be piled high on the plates this weekend as the country takes to the streets for thousands of parties and gatherings, all after more than two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and isolation.
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Some 16,000 official Platinum Jubilee street parties have been registered with permits, along with a further 70,000 official luncheons held in communities across the country, according to the UK’s Department for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport.
And while carrot cake may not be among the classic British dishes on the menu, Higgins said he’s gotten it on the palace menu at least once.
“One of my famous things in life, I introduced carrot cake. I remember they’d never had carrot cake before. It’s 1980 and Rob Pine, the pastry chef, I’d seen his carrot cake book and I thought, ‘I’m going to make this carrot cake,’ Higgins said.
“Finally, I now read in a few articles that they really like carrot cake – it’s on the menu. So I was the instigator of the carrot cake.”
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